by Andrew Geddis

The person accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks, Brenton Tarrant, has been called a terrorist. Why then hasn't he been charged with being one?

The killing of forty-nine people in Christchurch was an act of terror, allegedly committed by at least one individual motivated by white-supremacist ideology. We know this, as our Prime Minister already has publicly called this evil by its true name. 

The Police have referred their investigation into $100,000 in donations to the National Party to the Serious Fraud Office. It's hard to know just what that means, except that it's the quintissential political "bad look".

On its face, today's news that the Police have referred Jami-Lee Ross' now-five-month old allegations about Simon Bridges, the National Party and $100,000 in donations to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) looks like a very big deal.

National's decision to collapse a select committee meeting to make some sort of point may or may not be good politics. But it is bad for our parliamentary processes and long term constitutional culture. 

On Wednesday something happened in Parliament that was on its face a clever but petty political move designed to capture headlines, yet at a deeper level ought to concern anybody interested in how New Zealand governs itself. Forgive me while I set the scene with some bureaucratic jargon before I tell you why I think what happened matters.

Did you know that Parliament could imprison you for saying that Trevor Mallard is biased in favour of Jacinda Ardern over Simon Bridges? But it (almost certainly) won't.

Wednesday’s flare-up in Parliament, which saw the Speaker ordering both National’s leader and Leader of the House out of the chamber while most of their party colleagues (

It seems NZ referenda are a bit like Wellington buses - you wait ages for one to come along, and then three arrive all at once. 

New Zealand’s recent experience with using referenda to make decisions has all been a bit odd, really. We had a rather pointless one in 2011 on whether to retain or junk MMP, mainly because John Key inherited Don Brash’s promise that we would and couldn’t back away from it.

We might think the participants in the Craig v Slater defamation decision got what they deserved ... but for the fact that one of them continues to have to relive something she would far, far rather put behind her. 

The finally decided defamation proceedings in Craig v Slater must be the stuff of judicial nightmares. A complicated fact pattern involving two deeply unsympathetic parties. The application of finely balanced questions of law, which are upset part way through your deliberations by a new decision from a higher court.

Should Simon Bridges use the party hopping law to force Jami-Lee Ross from Parliament? You can make up your own mind up on that, but he can if National's caucus wants him to [update: unless Ross' seat becomes vacant because of his mental health].

[Update: According to media reports, Jami-Lee Ross has been taken into mental health care (i.e. has not voluntarily committed himself for treatment).

Jamie-Lee Ross has levelled a very serious accusation against Simon Bridges - which has yet to be confirmed. But its the way his actions are hurting our Politics we need to really worry about.

When Jamie-Lee Ross re-enacted The Joker’s “everything burns” scene from The Dark Knight in his press conference at Parliament, much was promised. Simon Bridges, we were told, had instructed him to divide up a $100,000 donation from a businessman into smaller, non-disclosable amounts.

As a society, must we let obnoxious provocateurs have a public stage? How do we decide when others must bear the burden of their speech?  

Up until about a week ago, I and most of New Zealand hadn’t the faintest clue who Lauren Southern or Stefan Molyneux were. Having better things to do than mine the seamier veins of the internet, I still haven’t really engaged in any depth with this pair of Canadian alt-right provocateurs’ “message” (such as they have one beyond “let’s make a buck from owning the libs”).  

In the wake of the publication of Dirty Politics back in 2014, the New Zealand Police undertook multiple unlawful breaches of Nicky Hager's privacy. They've now apologised for that - but the important thing is to make sure it does not ever happen again.

Readers able to remember events of more than a fortnight ago (or, events prior to Fortnite, for that matter) will recall the 2014 election campaign and those never-quite-peak-cray days of Dirty Politics.